Reports & Forecasts: April 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
April is the month that the trout fishing starts in earnest here in Louisiana. Trout will be caught from right on the shoreline to depths of eight feet. There will be fish taken under birds, out of slicks and over oyster reefs. April is the month that the topwater action really heats up. The best producing topwaters will be Ghosts, Shedogs and Super Spooks, but any dog walking bait could be the one that catches the trophy trout of a lifetime. If the trout seem finicky on one plug, take it off and try another; the fish will often let you know their preference. Soft plastics will still be the lure of choice for most fishermen. Both tightlining the worms and suspended them under a cork will be effective at this time of year. H & H Cocohoe Minnows and Norton Sand Eels will be good in colors like chartreuse, avocado or glow. The best areas to try and get in on the trout action will be West Cove, the south bank of the lake, Long Point and Commissary Point. When winds are light, Big Lake produces some big trout in April.

Sabine Lake | Dickie Colburn
Colburn's Sabine Connection | 409.883.0723
After catching good numbers of four to seven pound trout through the first two weeks of February, the fishing got extremely tough. The culprit was a wind that would not quit blowing enough to turn the entire lake to a pudding color. Any time the water clears just a little, we continue to catch solid trout on Catch V’s, MirrOdines, Crazy Croakers, and Assassins rigged on eighth ounce heads. The most consistent bite has been over mud and scattered shell in four to five feet of water. The water temperature is already up in the mid-sixties, so you can look for the topwater bite to explode over the next two months. The trout will also be stacked up on the deep reefs in front of the Causeway by month’s end. The redfish never quit all winter long, and they will be all over the Louisiana shoreline and the shallow flats behind Stewt’s and Rabbit Island. Because the water warmed so quickly, the flounder bite will be a little ahead of schedule. The Sabine Reserve will re-open this year, so all of the bayous are fair game again after March 15th.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James reports decent fishing in the Glaveston area lately. “As we get into the month of April, several areas will start to produce, including the south shore of East Bay, San Luis Pass, the west shore of Trinity and possibly the coves in West Bay. There are some fish in the coves right now in fact, but it’s not consistent. You’ve got to fish real early and/or real late to get ‘em in there. From an hour before light to an hour after light is best, same thing right around dark. In fact, I fish late most of the time during March and April. The middle of the day is pretty much dead. I’ll be throwing Bass Assassins most of the time, some Catch 2000s and 51 Mirrolures too. I like to throw those at the fish when I think the bite is on. I use my topwaters basically when the bite is off. I try to make the fish mad and get them to strike when they aren’t really eating. Catch a few big fish in the middle of the day that way, but the bread and butter lures will be the same worms and slow sinkers for me. People should rig their Assassins on the H & H flutter hook too. It is great on shallow fish.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim’s satisfaction with recent fishing rings in his words, “It’s on from where I am to where you are and beyond. All this good weather and the excellent water conditions have the fish biting all over Texas lately.” As far as East Bay goes, he says wading has been the way to go. “We are catching most of our fish on Corkies, Catch 2000s and 51 Mirrolures, and all of those are easier to use when wading. The average number of fish we are catching daily is good. On a slow day, we might get 18 or 20 trout up to about 4 pounds, but on the good days, we are seeing 50 or more up to about 6 pounds. For those who don’t want to wade, the bayous are still a good bet. You can troll around in there and catch plenty of both trout and redfish.” Given a continued trend toward good weather and salty conditions, he expects April to be a bonanza as well. “Reports of excellent fishing are coming in from Upper Galveston and Trinity, as well as East and West Bays. It’s got the people really spread out and most everybody has got plenty of room to maneuver.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
“These little red marine worms are everywhere right now,” Randall says as he’s driving in from another productive afternoon of fishing. “We didn’t even launch today until lunch time, because these worms come up in the evenings and the fish go crazy.” Predictably, he’s been favoring a red/white or red magic Sand Eel. “I love the red/white, and it’s been working best on a light jighead, so you can work it up in the water column a little. We’re drifting mostly, still covering mud streaks over scattered shell in four to five feet of water. It’s like a winter pattern really, but it’s still productive even though the water has hit 70 degrees.” He expects the glass minnows to show up in the near future. “I’ll be looking for the glass minnows on grass beds on shallow shorelines here in the next couple of weeks. Still will be throwing the Sand Eel, but I’ll start mixing in some pink Corky Devils, some Catch 2000s and some 51 Mirrolures, especially in natural mullet patterns. Don’t forget the Norton Quick Snap when changing lures; it might save your teeth!”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553
Tommy expects to be wading mid-bay reefs in East Bay as much as possible in April. “When the winds are light, we’ll be wading the reefs, throwing topwaters early in the morning, and Corkies too. When we switch over to soft plastics, we’ll be throwing a new color of Sand Eel; it’s called Voodoo. It’s strawberry, metal flake with black injected in the center. We’ve been whacking the fish on it. Also, I’ll go back to my old favorite, the black magic Sand Eel.” Sounds scary! “Since the river is pretty much done in April, we will move to West Bay when we leave East Bay. Over there, we like to stay on shallow shoreline grass early with small topwaters like Spook Jrs. and Skitterwalk Jrs. then work our way out to deeper grass near the outside bars later. Usually, we get our reds shallow and more trout as we move out. If we get a run of glass minnows, we’ll start focusing on the afternoon bite. When the minnows are thick, it’s some of the best fishing ever. You can just watch the fish blowing holes in the sheets of bait and catch them however you want.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been sporadic in the Palacios area. Trout have moved out of their deep water winter holes and have been staging over mud and shell in four to five feet of water. Texas Trout Killers in plum/green, pumpkinseed/chartreuse and plumtreuse rigged on eighth ounce lead heads have been most productive over the deep shell. The average size of the fish lately have been solid seventeen to twenty inches. The redfish action has turned on much better than the trout. The reds have been migrating to the mud flats and have been aggressively feeding on various topwaters and Corky Fatboys. The best topwaters have been the bone Super Spook Jr. and black/chrome Shedogs. The best Corkies have been pearl/black and strawberry/white. April should be an outstanding month with all the bait moving back into the bays and the water temperatures rising. The back bays in the area with mud/sand/grass bottoms would be some good areas to target for some quality redfish and specks.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn plans on fishing shallow sandy grassy shorelines for big trout in April. “We will be focusing on knee-deep sandy potholes on the hard sand shorelines as much as possible this month. We’ll be throwing our topwaters most of the time, Super Spooks mostly. When we get off of those, we’ll switch over to soft plastics and occasionally Corkies. The big trout will stay up there with the reds most of the month. Big trout around Port O Connor are not, of course, up to the same standards as elsewhere, but numbers of fish in the 3 to 4 pound class are not uncommon. Just like anywhere else, a wallhanger might pop up too. The reds, on the other hand, are nice sized around here. 25 to 28 inchers are abundant, and they like the same lures as the quality trout.” He says that he’s been on good numbers of 20 to 21 inch trout lately, and lots of smaller keepers, but that the fish usually get a little bigger in April. “Since the water doesn’t get chilled as much at night, it makes for more consistent action this month.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
“The topwater bite for trout has been hot for a good while now,” Blake says. “We’ve been catching them on Super Spooks, the baby bass, the black/chartreuse and the black/chrome mostly. I expect that kind of bite to persist throughout April. More and more, I’m finding fish on sand and grass, especially in Aransas, Mesquite and Carlos Bays. That’s a classic pattern around here in the spring, solid trout on sand and grass shorelines. Most of the bigger fish are pretty shallow. We caught 50 trout the other day, released several in the 24 to 26 inch class and kept a mess of smaller fish. Average size is impressive. On the same day, we had 15 reds and they were nice sized too. They are generally in the same places as the trout, maybe a little shallower.” He says he plans on pounding the shallow shorelines with his big topwaters as much as possible this month. “I always anticipate the bait migrations this time of year, so I’ll spend some time around the passes, looking for schools of forage fish. The predators are sure to be lurking nearby.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Sargassum weed has already arrived in heavy amounts as of early March and may well continue floating up in varying amounts throughout April. Travel during low tide frames whenever possible to avoid hazardous trips. Turtles began to nest in April so be ever vigilant for them throughout the month. Large numbers of blacktipped sharks and Spanish mackerel have already arrived. Rigging up with wire leaders and shiny silver spoons works best on the toothy, fast mackerel. Cast large natural cut baits for sharks when weed and sea conditions do not allow for kayaking. Ferry the baits out beyond the third bar on the kayak on days when the winds allow. Whiting, pompano, redfish, sheepshead, black drum and some bluefish can be expected to show up in the warming waters of spring. Fresh peeled shrimp and fish bites work best for bottom species. Catching them is easiest on days when currents are not too strong. A few large speckled trout may be present, and they may be willing to blow up on topwaters when waves and winds are light.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The months of February and March turned out to be very good months for both trout and redfish. The cold fronts were spaced out with just the right number of days to allow the wind, temperature and barometer to stabilize so that we could get out and go after those big trout. The water temperatures came up and is still up so that suspended baits like the MirroLure Catch V in colors like CHBL, #11 and #18 have been very effective in catching speckled trout up to 29 inches. Exude RT Slugs in colors pearl/silktreuse, bone diamond, mangrove red and mardi gras. Bass Assassin Slurps in colors pearl, good penny and drunk monkey rigged on eighth ounce jig heads have been and should continue to work with the current water temps. Since we did not have any freezes in the Laguna Madre, including Baffin Bay, I am expecting to have an incredible April. The month of April is the month when the speckled trout’s average weight is the heaviest, so I believe that it is possible that the current state record could be broken here this month.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Given the beautifully clear water everywhere, Joe has been fishing lots of different places. “I’ve been doing real good up here by the bridge and in Baffin and Rocky Slough. The water’s nice all over, and there are fish to be caught pretty much everywhere. We’ve been drifting water about two to four feet deep and focusing on sandy potholes mostly. I’m throwing my old standby, the Exude RT Slug on a quarter ounce head. Don’t seem to need much else. I’ve been catching a mix of trout and reds, and some of the trout are over twenty seven inches too.” He expects to continue fishing the northern end of the system in April, as well as making trips far to the south. “I’ll be looking for the Land Cut to kick in this month like it did last year. We always look forward to that. Also, Nine Mile Hole can be great in the spring. With this clear water, we should be able to do a little more sightcasting than we have lately. We’ll have lots of reds up shallow and some magnum trout scattered in there. It shapes up to be an awesome spring!”

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
“We’ve had a great year on big trout,” Bruce says. “Most of the action has been on the west bank so far, but the crowds are starting to show up, and with all the boats running shallow on that side, the fish are starting to disappear. I expect to be looking on the east side more and more in the next month, focusing on potholes. We’ve been doing best on Corkies and Catch 2000s, and also the baby Bomber Long A when winds are light, but as the wind picks up in the spring, we will throw the big topwaters a larger percentage of the time, lures like Super Spooks, He Dogs and Top Dogs. The wind creates a little chop and makes those plugs more effective.” He says he isn’t seeing any egg weight on the big trout yet. “Spawn seems to be a little behind schedule. Other things are ahead of schedule. We went through the jetties the other day and saw bait balls for six miles up the beach. Bonita and Spanish mackeral were running them. That’s unusual to see this time of year. It may mean we will have an early start to the tarpon season.”

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
If you plan to fish the Lower Laguna Madre any time soon, be prepared to enter airboat hell! We’ve picked up some nice reds near the drum boats and a few good trout around three islands on the east side, but the water is a cloudy yellowish color and difficult to see into. We’ve had our best luck with the red Mansfield Mauler with a 12” leader trailing a Berkley Gulp 3” shrimp in New Penny or Nuclear Chicken. The west side was exploding with slot and throw back reds up until the last full moon, then things slowed and we’ve started concentrating on trout on the drop offs along the Game Refuge. When the Maulers aren’t doing the trick, we switch to a gold weedless half ounce spoon and work over the potholes using a slow retrieve and lots of jigging. Freddy says, “The water may still be too cold for the perch, but look for them to move back in soon. It’s possible the charges being set off for the seismograph testing have something to do with the lack of bait.”